WILMINGTON, DE.- The Delaware Art Museum presents Frank E. Schoonover: An Artist for All Seasons, featuring over 25 paintings from every period of Schoonovers career, on view November 22, 2008 February 1, 2009. Frank E. Schoonover (1877-1972) is recognized as one of the most beloved and prolific illustrators of his time. His contribution to American illustration spanned over 40 years and included more than 2,200 illustrations. His work appeared in most of the popular periodicals in the first half of the 20th century, including Harpers, Scribners, Saturday Evening Post, American Boy, Country Gentleman, and Colliers, as well as in over 150 books, particularly childrens classics and contemporary fiction.
This retrospective exhibition is mounted to celebrate the publication of the first comprehensive catalogue of Schoonovers work. Frank E. Schoonover: An Artist for All Seasons includes works from private collections, some of which have never been exhibited in public, as well as one from the Wilmington Trust Companys Schoonover collection. Major paintings by Schoonover from the Delaware Art Museums collection, including Hopalong Takes Command (1905) and Hans Brinker (1924), will be on view in nearby galleries.
Born in Oxford, New Jersey, in 1877, Schoonover attended Drexel Institute in Philadelphia where he studied with the American illustrator and Wilmington-native Howard Pyle. Pyle also invited the young artist to attend his summer school in Chadds Fordan honor bestowed upon only the most promising students. With Pyles help, Schoonover initiated his career in 1899 with four paintings for the book Jersey Boy in the Revolution. The first of these paintings, Nearer and Nearer They Approached (1899), is included in the exhibition.
After settling in Wilmington in 1900, Schoonover traveled widely in the United States and Canada, acquiring a unique perspective and a rich reservoir of experiences, which he incorporated into many works. He was later recognized as an expert on the indigenous tribes of the Hudson Bay area. When the popularity of illustration waned in the 1940s, Schoonover turned to landscapes and commissions, including designs for magnificent stained glass windows. One of the works in the exhibition is a preliminary watercolor cartoon that Schoonover composed for one of 13 stained-glass windows that he designed for Wilmingtons Immanuel Church, Highlands.
The Delaware Art Museum is one of the few museums in the country with a major collection of American illustration, so visitors to this exhibition will be able to view Schoonovers work in the context of illustrations by his teacher, Howard Pyle, and his peers, including N. C. Wyeth, Stanley Arthurs, Gayle Hoskins, and Maxfield Parrish. Furthermore, Frank E. Schoonover was one of the founders of the Museum, along with Louisa dAndelot du Pont Copeland, George Perkins Bissell, and Stanley Arthurs. Known originally as the Wilmington Society of the Fine Arts, the Museum was incorporated in 1912 specifically to preserve and exhibit the art of Howard Pyle and continue his commitment to art education. Schoonover served as a Trustee from 1912 through 1969, and was made an Honorary Trustee in 1970.
Frank E. Schoonover: An Artist for All Seasons was organized by Louise Schoonover Smith, Guest Curator of the exhibition, President of the Frank E. Schoonover Fund, Inc., and granddaughter of the artist.
Wilmington Trust is the Exclusive Presenting Sponsor for Frank E. Schoonover: An Artist for All Seasons. Wilmington Trust is proud to support an exhibition devoted to a hometown artist. This exhibition is supported, in part, by grants from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
About the Catalogue - Written by John R. Schoonover and Louise Schoonover Smith with LeeAnn Dean, and jointly published by Oak Knoll Press and the Frank E. Schoonover Fund, Inc., the two-volume, slip-cased Frank E. Schoonover Catalogue Raisonné embodies Schoonovers entire oeuvre, from his earliest sketches to his last easel paintings. The book is chronologically organized with the numeration based on Schoonovers daybook entries. Over 3,000 images are included, many in full color, along with a detailed biography and accompanying time line, chronology, information about Schoonovers models and students, lists of exhibitions and the magazines he illustrated, three bibliographies, and three indices. The catalogue raisonné is comprehensive in scope and will stand as the pre-eminent record of Schoonover, his life, and his work.